[This is the fourth in a series where The-Ozone looks back on each member of the 2018 signing class and the impact they had this past season, as well as the impact they could have this coming season.]
Dallas Gant came to Ohio State from Toledo where he attended St. John’s High School. He was a four-year varsity starter on his football team. Gant was ranked the No. 10 outside linebacker in the nation and the No. 166 player overall. An Army All-American, he signed with Ohio State over offers from Michigan, Oklahoma, Penn State, Notre Dame, South Carolina, and UCLA.
Gant was one of the handful of 2018 signees who enrolled early, which meant that he got a head start on the other two linebackers in the class.
Soon after spring practices begun, he was catching his coaches’ eyes. Following the 15 practices last spring, his then-position coach Bill Davis was singing his praises.
“I think Dallas is such a mature young man,” Davis said last April. “He really is mature. He’s very businesslike and he did everything, he went about it right. Now, he made the freshman mistakes that you’re going to make. Technically, he should still be in high school. But he’s such a mature young man and it means so much to him. He had a lot of growth and he’ll benefit from that down the road. We’ll benefit from that down the road.”
Greg Schiano, who was OSU’s defensive coordinator last year, agreed with those sentiments several times throughout the season.
Gant ended up playing in 11 games, with most of that coming on special teams. He finished the season with six tackles. A season-high four of those tackles came against Tulane where he saw some of his most time on defense.
A rangy athlete at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, Gant was the backup to Pete Werner at Sam linebacker.
So Now What?
The Ohio State linebacker situation heading into spring football could either be cut and dried, or incredibly interesting. As one of the people who will be writing about it, I am voting for the latter.
Bill Davis and coordinators Greg Schiano and Alex Grinch are gone and they have been replaced by Al Washington, Greg Mattison, and Jeff Hafley. A change in linebackers coach is significant, but an all new group of coaches in the back seven could spell all kinds of differences for the Buckeyes.
If Gant remains at Sam in 2019, he will be competing with returning starter Pete Werner, and possibly Baron Browning as well.
Even though the Buckeyes return all three starting linebackers, the position didn’t play well enough last season to have many feeling comfortable. There is an opportunity here for Gant, but he will likely be one of many vying for one spot.